The horrid tale of Redwood manor was known throughout England and was memorized by small children looking for a good scare. It had not taken long for the rumour of the Haunted Mansion to jump from the gossiping lips of women unto others with an itch to speak. It had seemed to travel along with the constant chilly breeze that looped and twisted into every house and into every corner.
Now they all knew the tale, their versions of it at least, of the murderous tribrid a prestigious man who had been turned into a beast.
Kai Augustine was the last of his father’s lineage of six brothers and a sister before him. He was a man raised like royalty, classy, a man versed in the arts. England was no stranger to the Augustine Family as they had taken up residence for as long as the town of Redwood could remember, bringing their riches and dominance along with them.
The family was cold to outsiders as they had held high positions of power in society. All the sons were men of great trade, and politics whilst the daughter had married into another wealthy family. They were strange nevertheless, and they caused residents to quake with fear. There were rumours of course that they had been demons of some sort as men and women had sworn they had seen them conjure up fire from thin air or persuade innocent people to do their bidding with just a brief look into their similar grey eyes.
Of course, the witnesses were ridiculed and declared mad but no one could deny how odd the family was. Kai was no different, at least in the beginning he wasn’t. He had walked with the same uptight pride, strutted with the same immortal like dominance and glided with overconfidence. He spoke with eloquence and he had made a great living as he not only travelled but owned many mines across England and South Africa.
And just like everyone else in his family, he was devilishly handsome. However, he had changed drastically because of Caroline Richardson. It had started after Kai’s most recent voyage to Africa had ended and his family had thrown him a grand ball in his honour inviting the whole town. It was there that he had stumbled upon Caroline, the second-born daughter of a merchant and a seamstress.
She was well-groomed, with red curls that fell delicately at her shoulders, her doe-like brown eyes that pulled him in. She was kind, soft-spoken, intelligent and witty. She had challenged him and he loved it. In two months time, they were engaged to be married much to his family’s dismay. He was smitten, always by her side and she returned the affection.
Their wedding was grand and soon after she had become pregnant with their first child which infuriated the Augustines. They tried to convince their son that Caroline, a woman with a poor background was not for him. Kai did not care. He had planned to build a manor, a large manor for their family and he did.
No one knew how he had managed to finish the home before nine months time, but he did and dubbed it Redwood Manor. The community was proud of its beauty as it sat atop a hill where everyone could bask in its gloriousness. The villagers had called it the crown jewel of Redwood. It was like a castle, fine enough for royalty.
The moving day seemed to be the happiest day of Kai’s life, as the villagers had seen him buying bouquets of flowers and gifts for his beloved. The carriage drivers had remembered the look of love that both shared as he revealed the finished house for her. The handmaidens had even taken note of how gently he treated her and how saddened Caroline was when she learnt that the first night in the manor was to be spent alone.
Kai’s father had called an emergency meeting of which he had to attend. The handmaidens had recalled her sobbing uncontrollably before he left and he held her tightly to his chest, consoling her all the way to the carriage.
The night, as the fog had rolled in quickly, its shadows danced from the sky stretching their darkness across the small community of Redwood. Silence had followed the darkness like an obedient, loyal pup and thus the entire community was plunged into a deafening quiet.
But, like a sharp knife, a fear-filled cry sliced through the silence and sent tremors of pain echoing through the neighbourhood. The thin cry for help flowed from behind the strong walls of Redwood Manor. It seemed to wake most of the surrounding villagers who had dismissed it as owls or some sort of animal.
However, that night was the first and the last night that the lovely Caroline Richardson would spend in Redwood Manor, and it was the last that the villagers would ever see her beauty or hear of her kindness. The following morning she was found dead, her body mauled in the centre of the attic, claw marks dug into her chest, sliced from one shoulder to the next. Her swollen nine-month belly was slashed open and her neck held deep bite marks.
Kai, along with the Augustine family were nowhere to be found. It was obvious she was murdered but no one knew by whom or by what. There was, however, Caroline’s handmaiden Jessica who had been with her that night. She had heard her screams and recalled seeing Caroline within the arms of a beast. On hind legs, a tail, long claws and a face of a wolf.
She had heard Caroline cry out for her beloved Kai while looking into the beast's deadly eyes as it slashed her throat. Jessica wasted no time in bolting, running for her life. When she had told them of what she had seen, the villagers laughed and Jessica who was scarred for life had slowly succumbed to madness.
There was no doubt that some villagers indeed had doubt in the death of Caroline being caused by a wild animal. For, they all had a tinge of the belief that maybe the Augustine family was not of this world. Maybe Jessica was telling the truth but no one could ever solve the mystery.